Her Majesty’s Customs reported that over 11 million dollars in goods imported by the merchants at the Tortola Pier Park were exempted under the duty-free facility in 2016.
The update about the duty free system was presented by Premier, and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith during the Questions, and Answers section of the House of Assembly on 13th June.
Opposition Member, and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser asked the Premier to inform the House of the total value of goods imported by the Merchants that were exempted under the Duty-free facility between January 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2016.
In response Premier Smith explained that the total value of goods imported and exempted under the duty-free facility totaled $11,613,183.70.
The “Tourist (Duty Free Shopping System) Act, 2015” which is commonly referred to as the duty-free facility was passed in the House of Assembly passed on July 14th, 2015. The Legislation established a tourist duty free shopping structure at the Pier Park.
During the Standing Finance Committee deliberations Deputy Commissioner of Customs, Mr. Leslie Lettsome provided an update on the system. He explained that Duty Free process was working as intended, and explained that duty free cargo is cleared under a bond system ---where goods sold are recorded as local or international. He further noted that only the international sales are duty free.
Mr. Lettsome also pointed out that there are checks and balances in place to safeguard the integrity of the duty free system.
In 2015, the Duty Free Bill was presented by Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith who explained that the whole question of duty free shopping has been around for a long time. Hon. Smith stated that the Act that was passed allows for duty free offering in various parts of the Territory as any place that the Minister so desires can be declared as a duty-free shopping zone.
Hon. Smith explained that the way the system works is that persons who purchased items within the duty-free zone would not be required to pay duty on those purchased items. It was noted that the provision is mainly for visitors.
- Source: BVIHotpress.com